Paramount Axes Decades Of Comedy Central History In Latest Round Of Brunchlord Dysfunction

Last month we noted how the brunchlords in charge of Paramount (CBS) decided to eliminate decades of MTV News journalism history as part of their ongoing “cost saving” efforts. It was just the latest casualty in an ever-consolidating and very broken U.S. media business routinely run by some of the least competent people imaginable.

We’ve noted how with streaming growth slowing, there’s no longer money to be made goosing stock valuations via subscriber growth. So media giants (and the incompetent brunchlords that usually fail upward into positions of unearned power within them) have turned their attention to all the usual tricks: layoffs, pointless megamergers, price hikes, and more and more weird and costly consumer restrictions.

Part of that equation also involves being too cheap to preserve history, as we’ve seen countless times when a journalism or media company implodes and then immediately disappears not just staffers but decades of their hard work. Usually (and this is from my experience as a freelancer) without any warning or consideration of the impact whatsoever.

Paramount has been struggling after its ingenious strategy of making worse and worse streaming content while charging more and more money somehow hasn’t panned out. While the company looks around for merger and acquisition partners, they’ve effectively taken a hatchet to company staff and history.

First with the recent destruction of the MTV News archives and a major round of layoffs, and now with the elimination of years of Comedy Central history. Last week, as part of additional cost cutting moves, the company basically gutted the Comedy Central website, eliminating years of archived video history of numerous programs ranging from old South Park clips to episodes of the The Colbert Report.

A website message and press statement by the company informs users that they can simply head over to the Paramount+ streaming app to watch older content:

As part of broader website changes across Paramount, we have introduced more streamlined versions of our sites, driving fans to Paramount+ to watch their favorite shows.”

Except older episodes of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report can no longer be found on Paramount+, also due to layoffs and cost cutting efforts at the company. Paramount is roughly $14 billion in debt due to mismanagement, and a recent plan to merge with Skydance was scuttled at the last second.

Eventually Paramount will find somebody else to merge with in order to bump stock valuations, nab a fat tax cut, and justify excessive executive compensation (look at me, I’m a savvy dealmaker!). At which point, as we saw with the disastrous AT&T–>Time Warner–>Discovery series of mergers, an entirely new wave of layoffs, quality erosion, and chaos will begin as they struggle to pay off deal debt.

It’s all so profoundly pointless, and at no point does anything like product quality, customer satisfaction, employee welfare, or the preservation of history enter into it. The executives spearheading this repeated trajectory from ill-conceived business models to mindless mergers will simply be promoted to bigger and better ventures because there’s simply no financial incentive to learn from historical missteps.

The executives at the top of the heap usually make out like bandits utterly regardless of competency or outcomes, so why change anything?

Source: Paramount Axes Decades Of Comedy Central History In Latest Round Of Brunchlord Dysfunction | Techdirt

Robin Edgar

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